Senior Year Research Project II

A continuation of Senior Year Research Project I, Senior Year Research Project II enables students to continue work on the project. Students in SYRP II typically work on finishing research, data analysis, synthesis of information, and/or production. In addition, students create a tangible product as well as a professional presentation or workshop for the public. The product will vary according to the focus and intention of the research project. The presentation can range from a talk for the community, a workshop for a related class or an outside audience, or a professional conference. Project outcomes can range from business plans to nonfiction narratives to artwork to a proposed curriculum to a scientific research paper. In all cases, the projects are meant to be publicly accessible and be consistent with Sterling College’s focus on experiential learning and meaningful, relevant learning outcomes. Students set learning goals and assessment criteria, which will be evaluated over the course of the semester.

Education and Culture

In seminar style students will examine their personal relationship to education and culture while exploring topics of race, privilege, power and cultural identify. Cultural influences will be examined to better understand the complex world of education and its relationship to society. Student participation is highly critical and many class sessions are facilitated by class members. To enhance the learning process guest speakers will help to bring students outside the world of Sterling College and explore topics in greater detail.

For the Fall 2020 semester this course will be offered online.

Black River Sketches

Plein air painting and drawing allows us to explore the local landscape with a new perspective using natural light and its changing, ephemeral qualities. Landscape art heightens our understanding of nature and allows us to develop a sense of place. Creating art using the traditional method of plein air drawing and painting exposes us to a familiar surrounding environment. Students will make creative use of the landscapes around them, whether it be a forested landscape in their backyard or an urban landscape through their bedroom window. Classes will meet once or twice weekly via Zoom to focus on the communal production and sharing of art.

Pod: Leadership and Social Change

This course focuses on the intersection of climate change and social justice.  The course objectives are to provide historical perspective on current issues through examining an array of social justice movements, to acquire a theoretical framework for making decisions about social change priorities, goals, and strategies, to understand the dynamics of social change movements, to cultivate leadership skills, and to examine the relationship of one’s personal life, values, and actions to social change.  Students will develop and lead a workshop for peers, attend social change events in the region, read extensively, and interview an activist they are interested in.

For the Fall 2020 semester this course will be offered in-person. Students enrolled in this course are encouraged to enroll in online courses, Senior Year Research Projects, and Independent Studies.

Field Ecology

This course introduces students to the complete process of investigating field-based ecological questions.  In this class, students will pose questions about ecological phenomena, develop hypotheses, design experimental and/or observational studies, collect appropriate data in the field, and analyze, interpret, and present these data qualitatively and quantitatively. The course will be divided into a distance-learning section where students will be introduced to the concepts of experimental design, analysis, and interpretation, and an on-campus section where students will collect data and present their results. This hands-on class will familiarize students with transferable tools and skills used to investigate ecological questions in a scientific manner

Literature of the Rural Experience

Like their urban counterparts, rural areas have historically been a nexus of cultural intersection-places where migrants and immigrants have come for work, farming the land, mining resources, harvesting timber, and thereby creating new lives, as well as places where urban dwellers seek recreation and refuge from city life. Such intersections have given rise both to tensions (between native and newcomer, tradition and change, different class and cultural values) and to vibrant and diverse communities. This course considers how people from different backgrounds have responded to rural living, as well as how literature has both reflected and shaped rural cultures.How do stories, poems, songs, and films represent both what is unique and what is universal about rural experiences? Looking at images of rural life in literature will enable us to examine the influence that literature has had on the ways we understand and interact with rural communities, as well as the role that literature (particularly story and music) plays in rural lives. This course satisfies three credits of a students writing-intensive requirement.

For the Fall 2020 semester this course will be offered online.

College Teaching Experience: A Sense of Place

Entails serving as a teaching assistant in a course previously completed with a satisfactory grade. Introduces strategies for the planning, preparation, presentation, and evaluation required for teaching at the college level. Students work with the faculty member teaching the class to develop a detailed plan for participation in the teaching of the class prior to the beginning of the semester in which the course is offered. This course may be repeated if serving as a teaching assistant in a different course.

Course Assistant for Expedition II

Students in this course will help to support faculty and students enrolled in Expedition II as they develop skills and group dynamics through the second half of the fall semester and during Winter Expedition.